A Tribute to Muhammad Ali

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Muhammad Ali in 1966. Source: Dutch National Archives  

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The world has been mourning the greatest boxer in the world, Muhammad Ali, as he died on 3 June of resipratory illness. The boxer lost only five matches in his 20+ year career, winning the world heavyweight belt three times and fought with the best. Ali was also an icon outside the ring, where his devotion to Islam, support for equal rights between Blacks and Whites and his rejection of his entry to the Vietnam War was loved by many, but hated by some. His controversial decisions will remain disputable for years to come.

Having grown up watching the Ali fights and reading up on his advocacy on rights, one would wonder if there was something Ali should be remembered by in addition to what was mentioned. After having rumaged through some videos and interesting facts, I came across one interesting aspect worth mulling about and that is about life. Not the life that he wanted to live beyond boxing. That can be found in this powerful documentary below:

Ali wanted to give back to the community as a way of saying thanks for the support and showing his support for the people who look to him as guidance. During the age of segregation and racial tension, there was not much for effort as far as coming to terms and finding common ground between the two parties, for both sides pointed their fingers at each other and showed their pride in ways that angered the people in general. Yet despite facing segregation by not even being treated as king at a white-only restaurant, let alone spending time in prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War, Ali showed society that there is a way to end such conflicts and hatred, by showing one’s goodness and doing something that will make a difference.

Life is based on giving back something good to society, realizing that there is only a certain amount of  life there is to live. And when your time comes, there will be a place in the afterlife, no matter what it is. This was Ali’s slogan. He had a lot of religious discussions and other speeches about his career, but as you can see in these example speeches, one has a life to live and should do something during that lifespan in order to earn one’s place in the end. It doesn’t matter which religious affiliation, social background and other handicaps a person has. If there is a will and an idea, it can be done without delay. Check out the greatest speeches below:

 

Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Speeches:

 

Keeping this in mind, it makes me wonder, being speechless in the last couple years, what Muhammad Ali would say to the current situation our society has: with the environment running astray at the cost of the livelihoods of millions, many refugees moving to regions where they are not welcomed by the majority of the population and nationalism on the rise- even in the US- what he would have to say to the public had he been asked to speak, despite his suffering from Parkinson’s. How would encourage the people to end this nonsense that people like Donald Trump and Frauke Petry are saying to the public as a way of stirring up hatred and segregation? I doubt his speeches would be like the ones above, but he would have definitely made waves regardless of how he would address it.

But I will still wonder, even when he moves on leaving his legacy behind for others to learn about…..

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The Flensburg Files would like to dedicate this in honor and memory of the man who flew like a butterfly and stung like a bee in many ways in and out of the ring. Muhammad Ali will be missed but will forever be one of the pieces of American culture and heritage that will be in its place forever. Many thanks for your contributions and powerful speeches over the years,  and God Bless.  

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